Hercules and I went to a friend’s housewarming party on the lake this weekend. We sat and stood and laid on the dock while the dogs and boats and swimsuits blurred by. We talked about what fantastical lives we born and bred Midwesterners led. As the sun played with the edge of the water, half a platter of chips and dip joined the two brats in my stomach, and I summarily declared that I was really good-looking.
Good-looking and intelligent and great.
I do that sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean a lot. I have to remind myself, see.
It’s taken me a lot to get where I am. It isn’t luck. It’s work. Hard, emotional, risk-taking work. You can only be successful if you like yourself very much. And I struggle every day to keep that up.
Today is more of a struggle. Today is one of those days that no one could hold me close enough and the tension around my heart won’t dissipate even with the deepest breath. I am ready to retreat today.
It is these strange and neurotic thoughts that get in the way of success. Hercules told me at the party that whatever I am thinking, somebody else is thinking. Perhaps. There are some secrets we all hold close to ourselves, trying to protect an image that others will respect. Like, no one tells you that blogging takes an insane amount of time. No one tells you that leadership is lonely. No one tells you that love is not a fairy tale no matter how hard you try.
That’s why you have to like yourself a whole heck of a lot. So when the days are a struggle, you’re ready. If you’re somewhat of a narcissist, you join the feel-good-success-club. Welcome. If you’re not, you’re stuck at the perimeter, looking in. The people on the inside have figured something out. They back themselves up one hundred percent and smile in the face of dissent. They believe in who they are, in spite of what goes wrong.
That means you have to enjoy being alone with yourself. It’s hard to do that. I myself love being around other people. People would describe me as an extrovert. But I am most comfortable alone. Even on days like today. I don’t have to brush my hair, and the words out of my mouth are not timed and measured. There is no one to worry about trusting in hushed voices, and it’s okay that I haven’t done the dishes.
It is during these alone times that I turn on my music. I turn it up real loud. Loud enough to test the sound insulation of the walls that hold my small apartment. And then I dance. I dance on through my living room and spin around in front of the bathroom mirror, and I prance out into the hallway and spread out my arms, throw my head back, and my mouth opens passionate and wide to the words of the song, full blast, my body bending towards the ceiling. Because I am sure that in another life I was the most famous of all famous vocalists, and it’s a grave mistake that I can barely carry a tune in this lifetime. A grave and dirty trick, I say.
The song ends then, and I smile in spite of myself, and remember that whatever I am worried about cannot match the strength of how really good-looking and intelligent and great I truly am.